How to Gloss Up a Heart Shape in Photoshop (No Glitter or Glue Required)

My funny dekeIntines. Despite my previously stated aversion to Valentines Day, I know some of you enjoy making gussied up heart-shaped creations for your sweethearts. So, for you last-minute card-makers, I’m going to show you how to fancy up your heart shape just in time to pretend like you planned it all along. No glue or glitter required:

This glorious, some might say over-the-top glossy heart stars with a simple heart-shaped path which is then shined to insanity in Photoshop using layer effects. What better way to visually share the extreme shininess of your love?

First, you gotta have a heart. Deke’s Techniques has featured two ways to make a heart shape for the drawing challenged. I’m going to use the one created in Deke’s Techniques 026: How to Make a Classic Heart in Illustrator. You could also steal the heart created in Deke’s Techniques 193: Drawing an ISOTYPE Couple in Love in Illustrator using nothing but stroke and fill effects, just be sure to convert the final shape to a path outline (as Deke explains in the movie.)

I’ve also employed a suitably sensuous background, image #113263 from the Fotolia image library, to ensure my project is lovingly lurid. (And photographer cygnusx has some other colors to play with at Fotolia if passionate purple or magic magenta is more your thing.)

Read on to see how to create this glamorous, glossy, glitter-and-glue-free creation in Photoshop.

1) Copy the path from Illustrator and paste it into Photoshop.

Select the path in Illustrator, copy it, and then paste it into Photoshop. When Photoshop asks, choose to place the selection as a shape layer. (You could theoretically also just draw the shape with Photoshop’s Custom Shape tool. There are a few hearts to choose from.) Turn off any strokes or fills that may result. You just need the path.

2) Stroke the path.

With the Heart shape layer selected, click the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose Stroke from the popup menu. In the Layer Effects dialog box, set the stroke to 10 pixels and the position to Outside.

Click the color swatch, and in the Color Picker dialog box set the Hue to 0 degrees, the Saturation to 100 percent, and the Brightness to 35 percent. Click OK to exit the Color Picker dialog box, then set the Blend Mode to Multiply. If you have the Preview check box turned on (as you should), you should see a rich red stroke around the heart path:

3) Apply a Bevel & Emboss effect.

With the Layer Effects dialog box still open, click Bevel & Emboss in the left-hand pane. Set the size to a whopping 200 pixels (no skimping on the love here) and make sure the Altitude is set to 40 degrees.

4) Change the Gloss Contour and highlight and shadow colors and settings.

In the Shading area of the Layer Effects dialog box, click the down-pointing arrow next to the Gloss Contour setting and choose the oh-so-subtle (not) Ring-Double option. (It’s the third one in the second row that looks like two skinny mountains.)

Set the Highlight Mode to Linear Dodge (Add), the Opacity to 100 percent, and the Highlight color to white. (It’s probably already white, but you can click the swatch and make sure if you like.)

Set the Shadow Mode to Linear Burn, the Opacity to 65 percent, and click the swatch to set a new color. In the Color Picker dialog, set a Hue of 0 degrees, a Saturation value of 100 percent, and a Brightness of 25 percent.

5) Add (yet more) Contour to your Bevel and Emboss effect.

Click on the word Contour under Bevel & Emboss in the left-hand pane, and set the Contour to Gaussian as shown below: 

6) Add a Satin effect.

Lest you feel this is too subtle, crank up the glossiness by adding a Satin effect. Click Satin in the left-hand pane of the Layer Effects dialog box. Set the Blend Mode to Screen, the color to white, and the Opacity to a staid 15 percent. Crank the size to 100 pixels (so much for subtle) and the Gloss Contour to our old beloved Ring-Double.

7) Add an Outer Glow effect.

At this point, I might suggest it’s time to stop the shiny, heart-shaped madness, but I’m an established anti-Valentinian. Master Deke thinks it needs to really stand out. If you agree, click Outer Glow in the left-hand pane of the Layer Effects dialog box. Set the Blend Mode to Screen, the color to white, and the Opacity to 100 percent. Then crank up the glow of your heart by setting the Size to 100 pixels. No one can doubt your sincerity now:

When Deke originally created this project, he felt it needed a Lens Flare to really sell it (of course). And he also added some warped text to the image. I’m not sure I can condone this madness, even in the name of love, but if you’d like to see how it’s done, check out Deke’s Techniques 043 in the library to see Deke perform this entire effect in video.

If you’re not a member, you can get a free week’s trial by going to A week is plenty of time to let your Valentine imagination run crazy. More on that Friday, when you’re recovering.

Next entry:Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Mastery Nears Completion

Previous entry:Deke’s Techniques 195: Creating a Series of Warhol-Style Variations in Photoshop

  • delete vs backspace


    Just curious… in all your tutorials you use the ‘Backspace’ key for Windows based systems and the ‘Delete’ key for Mac OS systems to delete something. Why? The delete works perfectly well in Windows based systems or is there something I’m missing?



    PS: You’ve given us a heads up for the CS6 PS Mastery,,, what about Illustrator?

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